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In Praise of My Husband's Hands

alec vanderboom

(In Honor of the Feast of Saint Joseph the worker)

Last September, my husband came home and complained of pain in his right index finger. The tendon was so inflamed the pain shot all the way down his arm into his elbow. His workload had tripled after his firm took on two new clients. Now, my husband couldn't bend his knuckle or hold a knife.

Since all of my medical knowledge comes from worker compensation hearings, I immediately started freaking out about carpal tunnel syndrome. I looked up the facts in our little "do it yourself" health care manual from Kaiser Permenente.

"You need to ice your tendon for a half hour after work each day. You also need to take five minute stretch breaks at work. And you should do some finger strengthening exercises. And if that doesn't work we need to call your doctor-- otherwise you might need surgery!"

"I don't need to call my doctor," my husband said as he attempted to cut his pork chop with the knife in his left hand and held his fork in his right hand in a grip more awkward than our newborn's fist.

I stared at him in horror. "Everyone at this table depends upon that one hand to eat!" I exclaimed. The force of that statement hit both of us at once. "I'll ask my boss to order a better mouse pad tomorrow," my husband said with a nod. (Happily some minor changes on his computer desk have cured the problem.)

My husband is a graphic designer. He is the skilled laborer of our modern day. He loves to draw, but sadly handles pencil and paper all to rarely at work. Most of his day is spent doing click after click on his mouse. He moves type and photographs from web browser to spread sheet and then back again. Click. Click. Click. His right index finger moves up and down all day for nine to ten hours a day with only a modest break for lunch.

The steady paycheck from such humble work feeds a family of five, keeps a roof over our heads, and buys us netflix rentals and coffee grounds.

I'm so, so grateful to my husband for being a model of Saint Joseph for our family. Humble & Devout. Strong & Gentle. Diligent & Loving.

Saint Joseph pray for us, that we may always appreciate our spouses and their hard working hands.